Walsall played in front of their home faithful at the newly named Banks Stadium, it was the first chance many of the supporters had got to take a look at a host of new signings. Ince lined up in goal, the back four was made up of Wrack, Roper, Gerrard and Boertian, Midfield Hall, Sonner, Dobson and Fox and up front Butler and Mooney. Richard Money deciding not to risk Rhy Weston, Allan Picken (who?) and Mr. Sunshine aka Eddy Sonko who all had various knocks. The Blues fielded a full strength team, including new signing Garry O’Connor on the bench.
Blues took the lead a couple of minutes into the game, the Saddlers back line were caught flat footed, Cameron Jerome who had time and space slide in the suspiciously offside Mikkel Forresell. The Ukrainian striker was ruthless in rounding Ince and thumping the ball into the net. Walsall tried to get back into the match but as later stated by Manager Money, were playing the ball a little too short, a little too instricate and a little too slow. New signing Tommy Mooney showed promise, though he seems to be a striker in the similair ilk of Butler, in that he has a great work rate and holds the ball up well, bringing other players into the game, though Mooney seems to be found more often in the penalty area. As Walsall fought to get some hold on the game, Blues doubled their lead, Larsson crossing, Forrsell struggling to control the ball, weak challenges followed from Fox and then Sonner before the loose ball was thumped past Ince by Cameron Jerome. A goal that revealed poor defensive fratilites but also a goal that showed that none of the Walsall players were going to risk putting hundred percent challenges in. Walsall had their fair share of the play in the first half but showed little promise in getting a goal.
The second half was delayed, due to possible bomb threat, no, a bin on fire in one of the toilets or was it just someone smoking, we’ll never know. Walsall came out strong, showing a range of passes, moving on and off the ball. Dobson rolled up his sleeves and took hold of midfield, a midfield let me add missing the attacking threat of a certain Dean Keates. Walsall showed promise but lacked in final pass preciseness or ruthlessness in front of goal. Claudio Ganerio came on for the tiring Martin Butler, Demontagnac came on for the long haired Danny Sonner, with Fox switching to centre midfeild. It was this change that saw Dobson come to the aid of his strikers and make that extra effort to get into the goal. Ganerio immediately flicked a diving header into the side netting from a Fox corner. Nicholls came on for Hall and Denney came on for Mooney, both young players showed plenty of promise and didn’t seem to be effected by their Premier opposition. There was one more note of action, a stinging volley by Demontagnac was brilliantly palmed around the post by Maik Taylor in the Blues goal.
So plenty of promise from the Saddlers and they will be playing sides from two divisions lower next season. Walsall are still shaping up to be force in League One next season.
Didn’t have to much to do, saved well, not spilling the ball but some of his kicking was left wanting.
Star player, solid and good passing range to the centre forwards over the top.
Looks like he could become a fans favourite, a no nonsense defender who doesn’t hold back in a tackle. Also the former Ram is willing to get forward in support of the winger playing in front of him.
The Walsall veteran struggled, made poor decisions at the back and as all those around him in a red and white shirt were performing semi-Brazilian passes, he tried and the ball either went into the stand or to a Blue shirt. Just kick it out Ropes, it’s what you do best.
Struggled finding a position in midfield with Sonner, didn’t know whether to protect his back four or push up field for glory.
Sooner was often found to be trying to be too clever with the ball, caught a couple times in possession in vunerable positions. Sonner is a clever player but intricate passing can get the side in trouble. Badly needs a haircut too.
Hall will terrorise full backs next season with his pace and bluntness but will need to improve on his crosses if he is to keep his place in the side.
Was at times the weakest link, but he doesn’t look like a winger, or seem to be comfortable playing there, but will always give his all. Much more happier playing in central midfield with Dobson.
Mooney was dangerous, willing to pull the trigger at any second, something which was trully missing last season. His fitness levels also seem to be high, this could be the signing of League Two.
Butler puts in the hardwork but never looked dangerous but he wasn’t offered much in service.
Maybe the Portugese striker could drop back into midfield, he has good close control, and can pick out a good pass, a striker of clever touch than of brunt steel.
Took on the Blues defence and scared them, but when given the opportunity even with time to put in a good cross miserably failed. The youngster also showed signs in his cameo appearance of losing his temper which is dangerous.
Ran at the Blues defence, but wasn’t given much chance to shine.